* Dalian iron ore dropped by 8 pct downside limit at one
* Rebar, coking coal futures fall about 4 pct
By Manolo Serapio Jr
MANILA, May 4 Chinese iron ore futures tumbled
more than 7 percent on Thursday, their biggest single-day fall
in more than five months, on concerns that demand for the raw
material was at risk from slower steel consumption.
The drop came as futures for rebar steel and steelmaking raw
material coking coal fell nearly 4 percent.
China's crude steel production reached a record 72 million
tonnes in March and there were indications that output remained
high through the first 20 days of April, said Wang Di, analyst
from CRU consultancy in Beijing.
As steel prices dropped last month, though, some Chinese
mills pushed forward their maintenance schedules to somehow
manage output, said Di.
The most-active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange
was down 3.9 percent at 3,002 yuan ($435) a tonne by
midday, after falling as much as 4.6 percent earlier.
Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange was last
down 7.6 percent at 487 yuan per tonne, on track for its biggest
daily drop since Nov. 16.
The iron ore contract earlier slid by its 8 percent
exchange-set floor to 485 yuan, its weakest since April 20.
"We are bearish," said Di on her outlook for iron ore
prices. Demand this month "could be even worse than now or
compared to end-April," she said.
Iron ore shipments to China from Australia's Port Hedland
terminal, used by top miners BHP Billiton and Fortescue
Metals Group, rose to 34.86 million tonnes in April
from 31.5 million tonnes in the previous month, port data showed
Inventory of imported iron ore at China's major ports
reached 130.55 million tonnes as of April 28, up 950,000 tonnes
from the previous week, SteelHome said. The stockpiles hit
132.45 million tonnes in March, the most since SteelHome began
tracking it in 2004. SH-TOT-IRONINV
Thursday's plunge in futures could drag down spot iron ore
prices again after they had stabilised in the past two days.
Iron ore for delivery to China's Qingdao port .IO62-CNO=MB
was little changed at $68.68 a tonne on Wednesday, according to
Coking coal futures on the Dalian exchange fell 3.8
percent to 1,071.50 yuan a tonne. Coke dropped 4.1
percent to 1,524 yuan.
($1 = 6.8958 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Manolo Serapio Jr.; Editing by Tom Hogue)